Josh Thornton works for a real estate agency and photography is his hobby. He’s not exactly happy with his position in life. Josh’s family doesn’t approve of his sexuality, and his boyfriend recently dumped him. He doesn’t care for his job or his fussy boss, but he needs something so he can pay the rent. One day, Josh is sent on assignment to photograph some cottages for sale on a large estate, Hartley Manor. A series of mishaps happen before he arrives (I won’t give them away, but they are amusing), and by the time he gets there, he’s quite frustrated.
After he’s taken the photos, Josh sees a handsome man in the woods, and he’s overwhelmed. The man is surrounded by a vixen and her fox cubs, and they’re playing with him as a faithful dog would play with his master. Josh wants to photograph him, but he doesn’t want to do it unless he has the man’s permission, so he asks the daughter of the manor’s owner to talk with the almost magical man.
Callum Black lives on the estate where he helps keep the books. His cabin has no electricity or any other amenities, but he’s happy with that. His deceased father raised him there, and he loves his home. He’s mute, thanks to a terrible childhood accident where fell forty feet from a tree. Callum can’t remember exactly why he climbed that high, and he has nightmares about it. Several therapists have worked with him, but nothing has helped…until he meets Josh.
Callum agrees to let Josh photograph him, and they strike up a friendship. Josh is amazed by Callum and begins to quickly fall for him. He’s worried, though. He doesn’t know if Callum is gay, and he is angsty because he is afraid of falling for a straight man. Once they realize they’re on the same page, a romance develops between the men. Everything seems be going well until Callum finally remembers what happened. Can their feelings for each other triumph over this event?
This was a wonderful story. I was sucked in from the very beginning, and I couldn’t put it down until I read the very last sentence. Josh tugged at my heartstrings because he was alone and unhappy, even though he was a nice man who deserved better. Callum? Oh, how I loved Callum! He just radiated kindness and love. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak. He communicated with sign language and a notepad and could easily be understood. What I really loved was his ability to communicate with animals and nature. The scenes with the foxes were so beautiful, they brought tears to my eyes.
Josh and Callum were perfect for each other. It seemed they were born to be together. Callum is bi, but all interest in anyone else, man or woman, is put aside when he meets Josh. Friends to lovers stories are some of my favorites, and because of their strong friendship, when they fell in love and moved to a physical relationship, the transition was smooth. Speaking of their physical relationship…whew! Their chemistry is stellar, and the love scenes are smoking hot. Even when things take a turn as Callum remembers what happened and why he doesn’t speak, their love for each other can’t be destroyed.
I’m not about to give any spoilers because Dormant Heart is near perfection, and I want EVERYONE to read it. It’s a story about a deep, abiding love between two people. It didn’t matter that it’s about two men. It could be about any couple at all. Josh and Callum are perfect for each other, and that made them perfect for me. I definitely recommend this book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.